For me, this time of year is always ruled by slow cooking. And my recipe for Moroccan Beef and Apricot Tagine is the perfect embodiment of that ideal. Packed with flavours both savoury and sweet, the complexity of tagine only adds to the comfort it provides. It is, in every respect, a true winter warmer.
Like most tagine recipes, the example below is brimming with powerful ingredients that somehow come together, with the help of a generous cooking time, into a casserole fit for any plate. It’s culinary magic.
The icing on the cake is the use of top-quality meat. Beef shin is an excellent cut for this dish. Perfect for slow cooking, the marrow within the bone helps to enrich the sauce in the tagine. Bone marrow may not sound delicious, but it has become a heavily undervalued ingredient.
If you can’t find good quality shin (bone on), ox cheek would also work incredibly well, as would stewing beef. Be warned, however, that the latter may not convey quite as much flavour. As usual, Source in Bristol didn’t let me down.
Of course, you may not want to use beef in your tagine. And if you’d like to try something a little lighter, my recipe for Chicken and Butternut Squash Tagine is a great option…
Moroccan Beef and Apricot Tagine
- 800g beef shin, bone in
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 onions, roughly chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, mashed
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- 200ml beef stock
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
- 150g dried apricots
- 100g dates, roughly chopped
- 1 large cinnamon stick
- 1 400g tin of chickpeas
- ½ tsp salt
- 4 tbsp flaked almonds, toasted
- a handful of coriander, finely chopped
- Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large pan and seal the meat. Transfer to a large casserole or tagine, holding back the fat and oil in the pan. Preheat the oven to 160C/140C(fan).
- In the same pan sauté the onion and garlic until softened. Tip in the paprika, stock puree, tomatoes, apricots and dates and cook for 5 minutes.
- Transfer the contents of the pan to the casserole, along with the cinnamon stick, chickpeas and salt. Distribute evenly, cover and pop in the oven for 2-3 hours.
- The dish is ready when the meat is soft and falling off the bones. Discard the bones and serve with toasted almonds, fresh coriander and couscous.
Cost: How much your tagine costs will depend on the type and quality of meat used. Stewing beef can be very cheap, but good quality shin is a little more expensive.
Still, at a maximum price for around £8 per kilo your rendition is almost guaranteed to be frugal. It shouldn’t set you back more than about £7.90, all ingredients considered.